Organizations in the News

Retail potato trade remains strong in Ireland, but processing sector at a standstill

In the latest Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) Potato Market Report, it is said that the retail trade remains strong albeit slightly erratic following the Easter break. The processing sector remains at a standstill although more restaurants are opening on a ‘take-away’ basis following the announcement of further restrictions. Meanwhile plantings continue at pace across the country.

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Potato crisis in Washington state: 1 billion of 3 billion pounds in storage might not be used, says exec director

The economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic has slammed broadside against the Washington potato and dairy industries, with both facing the prospect of dumping product because markets have disappeared, reports Thomas Clouse of The Spokesman-Review. Washington growers have 1 billion pounds of potatoes in storage with no place to sell them, said Chris Voigt, executive director of the Washington Potato Commission. “That’s a lot of potatoes,” Voigt said. “Every man, woman and child in Washington state would have to eat 200 pounds of potatoes between now and the Fourth of July.”

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How Coronavirus has changed the British potato market and the way AHDB supports the industry

This week AHDB Potatoes in the UK published a podcast outlining some of its analysis into consumer and wholesale markets, our thinking on consumer marketing and some of the ways that the lockdown has affected AHDB’s services to the industry. In this episode you will hear, among others, from Dr Sophie Churchill, chair of the Potato Board, who will offer an overview of the work that’s underway to support the British potato industry.

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Canadian potato industry holds conference to receive market update

Just before the COVID-19 pandemic brought physical meetings to a standstill, the board of directors of United Potato Growers of Canada held a face-to-face meeting in Ottawa to review potato stocks and discuss the market situation across the country. General Manager Kevin MacIsaac noted stocks nationally were down 1.9 per cent or one million hundredweight over the three-year-average as of March 1. However, the former chair of the PEI Potato Board noted Island holdings were up 3.9 per cent.

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Belgian potato chief appeals for government to chip in amid coronavirus crisis

Belgium’s potato industry is asking for the goverment to chip in and help it survive the coronavirus lockdown. While the country is well-known for its fries, the industry has few clients at home. On average, 90 per cent of potatoes are exported. But with travel bans and restaurants closed around the world, the food supply chain has been disrupted.

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Belgian potato sector grows again in 2019, however corona crisis will lay into the 2020 figures

Last year, despite the difficult growing conditions as a result of the extreme heat and drought during both the 2018-2019 and the 2019-2020 seasons, the Belgian potato-processing industry once again improved the record for processed potatoes. Almost 5.3 million tonnes of potatoes processed into fries, mashed potato products, crisps, flakes and granules or precooked potatoes meant an increase of 3.8% compared to the figures for 2018.

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How will Covid-19 lockdown impact our eating habits?

In this very insightful article by Steven Evans, Senior Consumer Insight Manager at AHDB in the UK, the author analyzes how Covid-19 has changed our eating habits, using estimates from Kantar Worldpanel that look at the potential rise per week of meals consumed during lockdown. These predictions relate to the current hard lockdown scenario faced by consumers, and depending on how stringently lockdown measures are enforced, we can expect to see a range of changes for a prolonged period.

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US: Coronavirus pandemic yields different realities for Northwest potato and apple growers

The coronavirus pandemic continues to make its presence known in all facets of daily life, including agriculture. That extends to some supply and demand economics lessons for Northwest apple and potato growers. Some of the largest potato processors in the world are dramatically cutting back their contracted acres with farmers this spring. That’s largely because the global pandemic has closed restaurants, and therefore demand for frozen french fries.

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British farmers launch #LockdownLearning initiative for home education

Farmers and growers from across Britain are hoping to inspire and educate children about food and where it comes from as a part of a new #LockdownLearning project, which is being launched today. The free, online resource comes as thousands of parents are now home-schooling their children due to the coronavirus.

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The Quikgro initiative: Developing resilient potato varieties suited for East Africa

Scientists of the James Hutton Institute, in collaboration with the University of St Andrews, are supporting a research project aimed at delivering food security and health for East Africa. The Quikgro initiative, which aims to develop potato varieties suited to the agronomic and environmental conditions of the region, is a key component of the project and will hopefully result in economic and social benefits for smallholder farmers.

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Potatoes USA: 2019 a banner year for potatoes, but in 2020 exports decline with severe losses in foodservice sales

Utilization of U.S. grown potatoes increased by 3.3% in volume in 2019 compared to 2018, an increase of 1,183 million pounds. The full force of the global pandemic and its impact on food sales became very apparent in March, Potatoes USA says. Beginning with the restrictions in China and then elsewhere in Asia, U.S. exports slowed considerably. Domestically, the calls for social distancing and the restrictions on sporting events, entertainment, bars, and restaurants has led to a drastic decline in foodservice sales.

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European fresh potato promotion campaign launched, targeting millenials

Bord Bia, CNIPT, VLAM and Europatat are thrilled to announce that the European campaign “Potatoes, prepare to be surprised – Europe’s favourite since 1536” is now live. The three-year campaign, co-financed by the European Commission under the EU Promotion policy, will run until the end of 2022 and is now live online under the hashtag #potatosurprises. The aim is to encourage the consumption of fresh potatoes among millennials.

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Tips and help for growers on promoting potatoes to the end consumer

AHDB says on its website that many British farmers have started selling potatoes directly to the customer in order to support their businesses. If you are a potato grower and have a website or a Facebook page, you can promote the benefits of eating potatoes with ready-to-use graphics, videos and recipes that AHDB supplies.

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Kiwi potato leadership on display: Zero net emissions by 2050

In February 2020, the Potatoes NZ board adopted a new strategic objective of zero net emissions by 2050. The Sustainable Vegetable Systems Project (SVS) is a multi-stream nationwide project that will transition crop production to more sustainable land management practices while growing resilient communities and economies.

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Canada: How COVID-19 influenced the potato industry on Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island’s potato industry had to scramble this month to respond to demand that changed seemingly overnight when COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. “The last two or three weeks have been anything but typical in the potato world,” said Greg Donald, general manager of the P.E.I. Potato Board. While demand for fresh potatoes surged demand for processed potatoes — such as french fries — fell significantly, he said. Restaurants are a major customer for these products, and their business has suffered as people across North America are being told to stay home.

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New Chairman of Potatoes USA: ‘My main goal is helping the U.S. to fulfill the potato needs of the American people’

Potatoes USA, the marketing and promotion board for the U.S. potato industry, elected its new leadership during its 48th Annual Meeting on March 11. Marty Myers of Boardman, Oregon was elected Chairman of the Board. Myers said that up until this month, his main goal as chairman was to increase outreach to the processing community. With the impact of COVID-19 however, Myers’ priorities are shifting gears.

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CIP responds to COVID-19 pandemic

As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread around the world and disrupt the operations of many organizations, the International Potato Center (CIP) says in a recent press release it is now actively taking measures to ensure its staff, beneficiaries and partners remain healthy. CIP has national offices in 19 countries where the spread of coronavirus poses a substantial threat. It wants to make sure its work does not exacerbate the problem. As such, CIP has updated its operations policies and made certain recommendations to staff members.

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NZ: As COVID-19 decimates job numbers, one Kiwi industry can’t hire fast enough

Breaking the silence of a nationwide lockdown, the hum of a tractor is the only sound. Farmers are among the country’s essential workers, so farms and fields are remaining busy keeping food on Kiwis’ plates. And despite panic-buying, there is no shortage. New Zealand could survive on potatoes alone, writes Conor Whitten in an article published by Newshub Nation.

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Europatat confirms its commitment to support members amid COVID-19 crisis

In the latest Europatat Newsletter published today, it is said that as the COVID-19 is spreading through Europe, and on top of the terrible human component and personal challenges that the outbreak is causing, there is also an unprecedented widespread disruption to companies involved in the trade of agricultural products. Europatat says the potato sector faces a difficult time and the organization is active in supporting members, citing examples.

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NPC welcomes ag benefits in COVID-19 Relief Bill

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed end of the week in the US, a $2 trillion bill with significant benefits to the US potato supply chain. National Potato Council (NPC) President Britt Raybould said, “We appreciate the commitment of our leaders to support U.S. ag producers. With spring planting underway in many areas of the nation, this bill lays the groundwork to improve the odds of a sustainable growing season.

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2019 and 2020 Webinars available on the World Potato Congress website

In a press release issued earlier this week, the World Potato Congress Inc notes that in case you missed one of its webinars, rest assured that they are all available on the World Potato Congress website at www.potatocongress.org.  The following is a list of all past webinars now on the website: 2020: March 18 – Presenter: Dr. Leah Tsror’s, “Powdery Scab[Read More…]

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Free potato market in Belgium collapsed due to COVID-19

Due to the corona virus the free market of potatoes has completely collapsed. The PCA/Fiwap and the Belgapom price quotation has been suspended because of a lack of transactions on the free market of potatoes. According to Romain Cools of Belgapom, the federation of the Belgian potato processing and trade, in the meantime panic broke out among potato growers. Said[Read More…]

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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